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Cat Lake asks court to halt road work

By Randy Thoms Feb 23, 2024 | 3:47 PM

The Chief of Cat Lake accuses the province of forcing his community into court.

It is seeking an injunction to stop First Mining Gold from building a road to its Springpole Mine project.

First Mining Gold was granted permits last fall from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Chief Russell Wesley says the province’s decision to issue the work permit shows a lack of regard for the community.

“Ontario’s decision and actions were made in defiance of a well-documented moratorium on mining in the Cat Lake Territory and numerous public statements of opposition,” says Wesley in a statement.

“Recently, I predicted in media interviews that the OMNRF would issue the permits despite Cat Lake First Nation’s concerns. This has happened, the OMNRF has forced Cat Lake First Nation into the courts.”

Band council supported a resolution last fall to ban mining exploration and any related road activity within its traditional land use area.

If granted, the injunction would prohibit First Mining Gold from moving ahead with its road project, pending the resolution of Cat Lake’s application for judicial review.

“Once such a road is built—cutting down trees, harming local wildlife habitat used by moose caribou and wolverine, depleting fish stocks, damaging sacred Cat Lake cultural sites, and disturbing Cat Lake burial grounds—such actions, and their harms, cannot be undone. Only the requested orders can prevent such harms until the serious issues in the underlying application are heard on the merits,” says Wesley.

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